NSF’s I-Corp Program

The reason for this email is to tell you about an upcoming Webinar for NSF grantees.

If you have an active NSF award (or one that expired within the past five years) you may be a candidate for NSF’s Innovation Corps (I-Corps).

I-Corps is a unique program that targets NSF researchers for additional support — entrepreneurial mentoring and funding — to explore the marketability of products or processes that are based on their research.

What do you need to qualify for I-Corps? First, you should have a vision of how the technology that resulted from your NSF award might be commercialized and used. Next, familiarize yourself with the program (see below) and attend the next I-Corps Webinar on:

Tuesday, March 6th, 2012 at 2 P.M.

If you intend to join this Webinar, please simply send a “Reply” to this email message.

To find out more about the I-Corps Webinar and to join it, refer to:


To find out more about I-Corps refer to:



NSF Cyber-Enabled Discovery and Innovation declares success, terminates self

Just got this email.  On the one hand it is nice to see that NSF is not keeping around programs when they may no longer be needed.  On the other hand, this somehow seemed melancholy …

Dear Colleague,

The Cyber-Enabled Discovery and Innovation program has demonstrated the value of interdisciplinary computational and data-enabled science and engineering.  Increasingly, this research approach is being integrated into new and continuing NSF programs and solicitations.  As of fiscal year 2012, proposals will no longer be accepted by the CDI program.

Investigators are referred to related NSF funding opportunities, which are listed on this web page (http://www.nsf.gov/cdi).  Please check for updates on this page as new opportunities are announced, and follow the links for program information and program officer contacts.

This is a one-time e-mail being sent to all PIs and Co-PIs of CDI proposals.

Tom Russell, Eduardo Misawa, and Ken Whang
CDI Co-chairs

Further proof of the ascendancy of microbes: 2011 NSF "biodiversity" grants mostly focused on microbes

As if the readers of this blog needing any more proof of the ascendancy of microbes and microbiology. Well, regardless, here is more. The NSF Announced recipients of the 2011 grants on “Dimensions of Biodiversity” – see The National Science Foundation (NSF) News Diversity of Life on Earth: NSF Awards Grants for Study of Dimensions of Biodiversity

And the recipients are strongly biased towards microbes relative to the general past patterns at many funding agencies.
Microbial focused awards:
Title: Pattern and process in marine bacterial, archaeal, and protistan biodiversity, and effects of human impacts
PI (Principal investigator): Jed Fuhrman, University of Southern California
Summary: Very little about marine microbial systems is understood, despite the fact that these diverse groups dominate cycling of elements in the oceans. Fuhrman and colleagues will compare heavily affected harbor regions with relatively pristine ocean habitat in the Los Angeles basin to understand patterns and relationships in marine microbial communities.

Title: Diversity and symbiosis: Examining the taxonomic, genetic, and functional diversity of amphibian skin microbiota
PI: Lisa Belden, Virginia Polytechnic Institute & State University
Summary: All animals host internal and external symbiotic microbes; most cause no harm and many are beneficial. This study seeks to understand the regulation of microbial communities on the skin of amphibian species, and how they may limit infection by a chytrid fungus that has decimated many amphibian populations around the globe.

Title: Lake Baikal responses to global change: The role of genetic, functional and taxonomic diversity in the planktonPI: Elena Litchman, Michigan State University
Summary: Microscopic plant- and animal-like plankton are the first links in aquatic food chains. This project will study the planktonic food web of the world’s largest, oldest, and most biologically diverse lake–Lake Baikal in Siberia–to predict how native vs. non-native plankton in this ecosystem will respond to accelerating environmental change

Title: Functional diversity of microbial trophic guilds defined using stable isotope ratios of proteinsPI: Ann Pearson, Harvard University
Summary: Studying the ecological interactions among microbes is difficult given their immense diversity and the scale of observation. This project will use isotopic ratios of carbon, nitrogen, hydrogen and sulfur produced during microbial metabolism to link microbes to their roles in biogeochemical and ecosystem processes. This novel approach will contribute to an understanding of what maintains diversity in microbes and, by extension, the roles microbes play in ecosystems.

Title: An integrated study of energy metabolism, carbon fixation, and colonization mechanisms in chemosynthetic microbial communities at deep-sea ventsPI: Stefan Sievert, Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution
Summary: The 1977 discovery of deep-sea hydrothermal vent ecosystems that obtain energy not through photosynthesis, but via inorganic chemical reactions greatly expanded the perception of life on Earth. However, there has been limited progress since then in understanding their underlying microbiology and biogeochemistry. This project will establish an international research program to better understand these deep-sea ecosystems and to place them in a global context.

Title: Functional diversity of marine eukaryotic phytoplankton and their contributions to carbon and nitrogen cyclingPI: Bess Ward, Princeton University
Summary: Marine phytoplankton form the base of food webs in the ocean’s surface layers, and thus represent the first incorporation of biologically important chemicals. This project will study two north Atlantic sites in two seasons to link the genetic diversity and species composition of phytoplankton communities to the carbon and nitrogen biogeochemistry of the surface ocean.

Title: IRCN (International Research Coordination Network): A Research Coordination Network for Biodiversity of CiliatesPI: John Clamp, North Carolina Central University
Summary: Ciliates are abundant, widespread protists found in all aquatic systems on Earth. However, it is estimated that science has described only 25 percent of these ubiquitous microorganisms, mainly in western European and eastern North American waters. This cooperative project is partially supported by the Natural Science Foundation of China, and will establish an International Research Coordination Network for Biodiversity of Ciliates (RCN-BC; including researchers from the United States, China, the United Kingdom and Brazil) to broaden exploration of these important protists.

Amazingly, there are only three awards not focused on microbes:

Title: The climate cascade: Functional and evolutionary consequences of climatic change on species, trait, and genetic diversity in a temperate ant communityPI: Nathan Sanders, University of Tennessee, Knoxville
Summary: Sanders and colleagues will help us understand what mechanisms allow some species to adapt to shifts in climate, rather than migrating or going extinct. This project will reconstruct past adaptations to climate change in a foraging ant common in forests throughout the Eastern United States and sample ant nests introduced to outdoor experimental warming chambers to determine the ant’s capacity to adapt to heat stress.

Title: Integrating genetic, taxonomic, and functional diversity of tetrapods across the Americas and through extinction risk
PI: Thomas Brooks, NatureServe
Most large-scale efforts to assess biodiversity have focused on genetic, taxonomic and functional dimensions individually; it is unknown how these dimensions relate to each other. Brooks and colleagues are using a database of the 13,000 land vertebrates in the Americas to determine how changes in one dimension of biodiversity influence changes in others. Understanding how species composition influences the diversity of certain traits, for example, will improve the efficiency and effectiveness of conservation actions.

Title: Integrating dimensions of Solanumbiodiversity: Leveraging comparative and experimental transcriptomics to understand functional responses to environmental change
PI: Leonie Moyle, Indiana University
This research will highlight the role of drought and herbivore defense in driving the remarkable diversity of wild tomato species. With the economic importance of tomatoes and their relatives (such as peppers and potatoes), this study will help prepare society for the future challenges facing global food security.

And if the PIs of these grants have any sense, they will likely include some microbial studies as part of their projects.  Of course, in the end all ecosystems include a diversity of kinds of organisms, and focusing on microbes over other organisms is also a biased approach.  But we (that is, “Science”) have spent so many years ignoring the dark matter of the biological universe (the term I now use to refer to microbial diversity) that we have to focus on microbes because there is a lot of catching up to do there.

Single annual cycle for the National Science Foundation’s MCB, DEB and IOS Divisions.

Just received this from NSF and thought it might be of interest to some:

Dear Colleagues:

The Directorate for Biological Sciences (BIO) of the National Science Foundation (NSF) has initiated new procedures for the submission and review of regular research proposals to the core programs within the Division of Molecular and Cellular Biosciences (MCB), Division of Environmental Biology (DEB), and Division of Integrative Organismal Systems (IOS). The changes for MCB were previously announced in a new solicitation (NSF-11-545).

Effective immediately, DEB and IOS will both operate on a single annual cycle of preliminary and full proposals. The initial deadlines for preliminary proposals will be in January, 2012 and the initial deadline for invited full proposals will be in August, 2012. New Solicitations NSF 11-573 (for DEB) and NSF 11-572 (for IOS) provide further details. Also see the Dear Colleague Letter NSF 11-078 and Frequently Asked Questions NSF 11-079 for additional information.

Both DEB and IOS will be hosting webinars to provide further information, please see the Division websites, (DEB) and (IOS), for details and contact information if you have questions or concerns. 

Received my first soliciation regarding "Broader Impact" reqs for grants

Got an interesting email the other day:

What do the following research programs have in common?

1. Lost Ladybug Cornell (Cornell University, NY)
2. Museum of the Earth (Ithaca, NY)
3. Crossing Boundaries (Hobart and William Smith Colleges, NY)
4. High School Polar Outreach Project (Charleston, SC)
5. Go Inquire Project (George Mason University, VA)
6. Project Wetkids (University of Southern Mississippi)

Answer: They decided to hire Next Interactives to develop a highly engaging research website to help fulfill their Broader Impact and Outreach requirements.

Sound interesting? Simply reply to this email for a free website consultation.


Outreach Project Manager
Next Interactives LLC
Our portfolio: http://www.nextinteractives.com

This seems to be focused specifically on the “Broader Impact” requirement in National Science Foundation grants.  I have never received a solicitation like this before.  Anyone else out there get anything like this?  What do people think?  I think it is possibly a good thing that some companies are thinking there is a niche for them in Broader Impact and outreach assistance.

ARPA-E funding opportunities in transformational energy research projects

An announcement of possible interest:

DOE has announced a second round of funding opportunities with $100 million in Recovery Act funding to be made available for transformational energy research projects through Advanced Research Projects Agency-Energy (ARPA-E).  Concept papers limited to 5-6 pages (depending on individual areas of focus) are due January 15, 2010. Awards may range from $500K – $10M (average award $1M – $5M) with a performance period of 24 – 36 months. Full proposals will be by invitation and will be due 31 days after notification.

Areas of focus included under this announcement:

  1. Electrofuels. (DE-FOA-0000206). ARPA-E is seeking new ways to make liquid transportation fuels – without using petroleum or biomass – by using microorganisms to harness chemical or electrical energy to convert carbon dioxide into liquid fuels.
  2. Innovative Materials & Processes for Advanced Carbon Capture Technologies (IMPACCT). (DE-FOA-0000208) The objective of this topic is to fund high risk, high reward research efforts that will revolutionize technologies that capture carbon dioxide from coal-fired power plants, thereby preventing release into the atmosphere. 
  3. Batteries for Electrical Energy Storage in Transportation (BEEST). (DE-FOA-0000207). In this topic, ARPA-E seeks to develop a new generation of ultra-high energy density, low-cost battery technologies for long-range, plug-in, hybrid electric vehicles and electric vehicles (EVs).

Relevant Dates

Concept Paper Registration Deadline: January 15, 2010
Concept Paper Upload Deadline: January 15, 2010 at 5:00pm (EST) (2:00pm PST)*
Full Application Submission Deadline: TBD
*Submitting Division must register in advance at, and submit electronically to ARPA-E eXCHANGE.

Relevant Links

ARPA-E Home: http://arpa-e.energy.gov/ 
Funding Opportunities: https://arpa-e-foa.energy.gov/ 
Frequently Asked Questions: https://arpa-e-foa.energy.gov/FAQ.aspx 
Key Documents: http://arpa-e.energy.gov/keydocs.html 
Direct questions to: ARPA-E@doe.gov 

Important new rules for NIH grant submissions ..

Just got this and thought it would be of interest to many people …

Dear NIH principal investigators, signing officials, and applicants,
Are you planning to submit an NIH grant application?  If so, please note that all applications intended for due dates on or after January 25, 2010* require the use of new forms and instructions. Major changes include:
·         Restructured forms to align with review criteria
·         Significantly shorter page limits
These changes apply to all competing applications, so whether you are submitting a new, renewal, resubmission or revision, you must take action now to ensure a successful submission! 
1.       Return to the updated funding opportunity announcement or reissued parent announcement to download the new application package and instructions.
              FOAs are in the process of being updated.  See timeline for more information.
2.       Be sure to choose the correct forms.  Applications intended for due dates on or after January 25 require new forms.
–        For Electronic SF 424 (R&R):  ADOBE-FORMS-B
–        For Paper PHS 398:  Revision date “June 2009”
3.       Read the updated FOA and new application instructions carefully
For more details the Enhancing Peer Review Web site which has a page dedicated to the upcoming application changes, as well as a number of additional resources including:
·         A short video overview of the changes
·         FAQs
·         List of related policy notices
·         Training and Communications Resources page, and more.
NIH Office of Extramural Research
Division of Communications and Outreach
Applicants eligible for continuous submission who are submitting R01, R21, and R34 AIDS applications should use the old SF 424 (R&R) ADOBE-FORMS-A on or before February 7, 2010 and the new SF 424 (R&R) ADOBE-FORMS-B thereafter.  Non-AIDS applications from applicants eligible for continuous submission need to us ADOBE-FORMS-A on or before January 24, and the ADOBE-FORMS-B on or after January 25, 2010.

U. of California seeking proposals on UC-Industry collaborations

Just got this email that might be of interest to some:

The University of California Office of Research and Graduate Studies is pleased to announce the spring 2010 UC Discovery Grant Request for Proposals.

The University of California Discovery Grant opportunity (UCDG) promotes collaborations between UC researchers and industry partners in the interest of supporting UC researchers and trainees, strengthening the state’s economy, and serving the public good. The UCDG is a matching grant mechanism; research projects are jointly funded by a UC Discovery Grant and a required industry matching contribution.

All applicants must submit a Notice/Letter of Intent (LOI) between January 11-February 12, 2010. Full proposals are due on March 2.LOIs and proposals must be submitted using the online proposal system proposalCENTRAL https://proposalcentral.altum.com/. Please refer to the program website for the most up-to-date information: http://www.ucop.edu/ucdiscovery/ . Detailed LOI and Application submission instructions will be available at the website above and on proposalCENTRAL the beginning of January.

Please circulate this announcement widely.

NSF looking for grants on "Life in Transition" re:climate change

Just got this email from the National Science Foundation saying that NSF is looking for more grants relating to responses of organisms/ecosystems to climate change.

The Divisions of Integrative Organismal Systems (IOS) and Molecular and Cellular Biosciences (MCB) in the Directorate for Biological Sciences at NSF encourage submission of proposals that address the biochemical, molecular, cellular, genetic and/or organismal underpinnings of adaptation and biological feedbacks to climate change.  Interdisciplinary and systems level approaches to these problems are encouraged. A cross-divisional working group has been established to ensure that exciting proposals in this area receive adequate and appropriate attention. 

Life on earth contributes actively to the forces involved in troposphere climate and chemistry. Not only are organisms key participants in climate and chemistry forcing functions, they are also highly sensitive to changes in many climatic and chemical properties of the troposphere.  Research is needed to understand the limits of biological adjustments to such changes, and the feedbacks on climate and chemistry that will result. 

The Foundation has a rapidly growing commitment to research directed towards understanding the interplay between living organisms and the earth’s climate and surface chemistry.  In the Directorate for Biological Sciences, this was emphasized last year by the establishment of a special Life in Transition activity, as announced in an open letter to the research community, accessible at: http://www.nsf.gov/pubs/2008/nsf08078/nsf08078.jsp?org=NSF.

Please consider submitting proposals of this kind to IOS and MCB using the ‘LiT:’ title preface described in the Life in Transition ‘Dear Colleague’ letter referenced above.  A project summary and introduction that place the proposed  research in the context of global climate change will be most helpful in determining appropriate sources of funding within NSF. 

If you seek further information, queries sent to this return email address will be directed appropriately to insure a prompt reply.

Want a qick $100,000 for infectious disease research – ask uncle Bill

Just got this email from Uncle Bill Gates

This is a reminder that the deadline for submissions to Round 4 of Grand Challenges Explorations is November 2, 2009, a $100 million initiative to encourage bold and unconventional global health solutions.

Anyone can apply, regardless of prior experience or institutional affiliation. Previous winners include graduate students, entrepreneurs at private companies, and creative thinkers from all fields of research.

Click here to apply now.

Initial grants will be $100,000 each, and projects showing promise will have the opportunity to receive additional funding of up to $1 million. Full descriptions of topics and application instructions are available at: http://www.grandchallenges.org/explorations

We look forward to receiving innovative ideas from scientists around the world and from all scientific disciplines. If you don’t submit a proposal yourself, we hope you will forward this message to someone else who might be interested.

Thank you for your commitment to solving the world’s greatest health challenges.

The topics are:

  • Create New Technologies for Contraception
  • Create New Ways to Induce and Measure Mucosal Immunity
  • Create Low-Cost Diagnostics for Priority Global Health Conditions
  • Create New Ways to Protect Against Infectious Disease